CONSTRUCTORS: FORTI CORSE S.R.L
Name: Forti Corse s.r.l
Former driver Guido Forti and Paolo Guerci joined forces in the late 1970s to run Teo Fabi to the Italian Formula Ford 2000 title in 1977 and moved to Formula 3 the following year with Fabi scoring several race wins in the Italian and European Championships. The team also enjoyed some success in South America in F3 in 1979 with Oscar Larrauri. In the early 1980s, however, the team concentrated on Italian F3 with Dallara chassis and driver Franco Forini, finally winning the national title in 1985. In 1986 the team struggled with Giorgio Montaldo and Nicola Marazzi in Dallara-Volkswagens but in 1987-88-89 they won three consecutive titles with Enrico Bertaggia, Emanuele Naspetti and Gianni Morbidelli.
As early as 1987 the team tried to break into Formula 3000 with the Assistalia-backed Dallara 3087 chassis driven by Nicola Larini and Nicola Tesini. The team only appeared at half the races and scored no results. In 1988 the team did a full season with Bertaggia, running a second car for various drivers but the cars usually failed to qualify. Bertaggia stepped back to F3 that year to win at both Macau and Monaco.
For the 1989 season the team decided to buy a Lola chassis and ran one car for Claudio Langes. He finished second at Enna but otherwise it was disappointing year. The 1990 season was much better with Morbidelli winning in his Lola at Enna and finishing fifth in the series.
In 1991 Forti decided to quit F3 and concentrate on F3000 running Lolas for Naspetti and Fabrizio Giovanardi. Naspetti won at Enna, Hockenheim, Brands Hatch and Spa but finished only third in the European Championship. He stayed with the team in 1992 and used Reynard chassis to win at Pau but then left the team to join March in F1. Montermini was drafted in and won at Spa and Albacete and finished second in the European Championship.
At the end of 1992 Forti struck lucky. He did a deal to run wealthy Brazilian Pedro Diniz in Formula 3000. Olivier Beretta was signed up as the other driver and the latter fought for the title with Olivier Panis and David Coulthard. Through Diniz Forti met Carlo Gancia and he bought Guerci's shares, although the engineer remained with the team. Gancia immediately began work on a Formula 1 project.
While Forti ran Diniz and Japanese driver Hideki Noda in Formula 3000, Gancia worked to raise the sponsorship necessary for F1. Effectively the entire budget was underwritten by the Diniz Family, with money from Parmalat, Sadia and other Brazilian companies.
The team entrusted the design of the Forti FG01/95 to F1 veteran Giorgio Stirano with aerodynamics completed by former Brabham aerodynamicist Hans Fouche in the Aerotek windtunnels in Pretoria, South Africa. Composite work was done by Belco Avia and the cars featured Cosworth engines.
Diniz was partnered by Roberto Moreno in 1995 but it was not a successful season as the cars were uncompetitive. At the end of the year Diniz moved to Ligier and Forti had to find money for 1996. The team hired drivers Luca Badoer and Andrea Montermini and test driver Franck Lagorce. The team found some backing from Replay, TAT, ITS and Elf. Sergio Rinland was named the new technical director and Cesare Fiorio was hired a team manager.
Things, however, were not as rosy as the team gave the impression. Rinland quit after a few weeks, realizing the task was impossible and there were rumors that Gancia was losing interest in F1 and looking at starting an IRL team. At the Spanish GP the new cars were unveiled and George Ryton was named the new technical director. Most importantly, however, a deal was announced in which a mysterious company called Shannon Racing took over the operation. The deal was announced by Belco-Avia boss Arron Colombo and it became clear that he was involved because his company was owed money by Forti and Gancia. Shannon announced that it owned 51% of the shares but Forti rejected the claim saying that no money had been received for them.
As a result of the dispute Cosworth was not paid and so stopped supplying engines. Fiorio departed leaving Daniele Coronna in charge of the team and Forti went to court in Italy to try to regain control. In September a judged ruled against Forti but by then the Shannon Racing Team had run into trouble and the team collapsed.